Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Research Themes for Delft Technology Fellowship 2022-2023

Corrosion of civil engineering materials and structures

The mission of this fellow should be to develop new and fundamental understanding of corrosion mechanisms in order to enable better assessments and predictions of the performance of engineered materials and structures across disciplines. Topics are corrosion of metals in porous media, such as steel in concrete or metals in soil. Especially corrosion mechanisms in underground steel pipes for geothermal wells or other energy harvesting structures are new fields to explore. Corrosion and corrosion maintenance in steel bridges and offshore structures stays an important topic. The general aim should be to improve the safety, sustainability, and durability of civil infrastructures.

Main research fields and challenges:

  • Corrosion and cathodic protection.
  • Reinforced concrete durability.
  • Offshore and marine corrosion.
  • Offshore in energy harvesting structures.
  • Materials for corrosion control.
  • Corrosion sensors and monitoring.
  • Mathematical/computational modelling of corrosion processes and consequences.

The fellow will concentrate research activities on corrosion mechanisms of materials and structures in the civil engineering field and collaborate with experts in the various departments of the civil engineering faculty to study the effect and consequences of corrosion on the performance of structures. The Microlab which is part of the 3MD department of the faculty has outstanding facilities for characterisation of materials properties and is equipped for corrosion research.

Fire safety of civil engineering materials and structures

Securing structural safety is one of the main tasks of a structural engineer. Whereas aspects as structural performance as a consequence of e.g. increased static and dynamic loading, long-term ageing, moisture effects etc. over lifetime is well embedded in national and international research agenda’s and education of structural engineers, the aspect of fire safety receives less attention. This field tends to be scattered over several disciplines, sometimes lacking clear focus. Research performed on this topic is nearly always incident-driven, but almost never defined from a more fundamental and long-term perspective.

 New developments further motivate the application of engineering principles to fire safety problems:

  • New types of fire as a result of increased use of electrical vehicles, temporary storage of electricity, increased use of electricity in general, leading to types of fire which are different from the past (higher temperature loads and temperature gradients, alternative fire propagation scenario’s etc.);
  • The use of novel construction materials and structures integration of systems and structures etc. in relation to fire safety engineering;
  • Unexpected damage caused by unforeseen risks in case of fire (progressive collapse, e.g. TUD Architecture, WTC New York, Grenfell London).

The fellow will concentrate research activities on the relation of extreme fire loading scenario’s with deformation and failure behaviour on material, structural component, structural and system level. Fire safety should be seen as an important component of integral system safety of engineering assets.

This research will be embedded in the 3MD-department, given its strengths on civil engineering materials, mechanics and structural and integral design. The position also has clear links with other departments (e.g. GSE – tunnels, TP – traffic management, HE – hydraulic civil structures). Opportunities to connect to national (Federatie Veilig Nederland, Instituut Fysieke Veiligheid, CROW), and international professional organizations (e.g. Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Institution of Fire Engineers, Society of Fir e Safety) and international academia are numerous.

Membrane Technology for Water Treatment

Membrane filtration is becoming more and more important in drinking water treatment, industry water application and reclamation of urban sewage. New contaminants, both chemical and microbial, challenge our existing, conventional water infrastructure, where membrane filtration is considered a viable option and absolute barrier against many of these contaminants. However, the fabrication and application of membranes are still in development in order to make them more cost effective and robust, e.g., against fouling. The Department of Water Management has extensive experience in membrane filtration, and is searching for an ambitious and enthusiastic fellow in the field of Membrane Technology for Water Treatment to strengthen the team. The successful fellow has extensive research experience in pressure-driven membranes (polymeric and/or ceramic) for (drinking) water treatment, is aware of the role of membranes in the larger treatment train, has preferably been involved in concentrate treatment, and has interest in treatment of alternative drinking and industry water sources, including urban sewage, industry wastewater and sea water.